Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn Discusses the Sequel

The Marvel movie making machine has been on fire.  Since officially creating Marvel Studios they haven’t ever had a film released that would be considered a flop or a dud.  Even the movies that haven’t been universally loved have still pulled a profit and did very well at the domestic and foreign box office.  Whatever they’ve been doing creatively must be working.

Despite all their success, the one slight knock on Marvel is that in an attempt to maintain a “shared universe” with all their movies, there tends to be time needed in each film to set up events in other films.  The way this has been accomplished is through Kevin Feige overseeing the entire process and many times having to massage some of the films to fit into the overall plan for the Marvel/Avengers film franchise.  This has resulted in some creative disputes such as Edgar Wright walking away from Ant-Man after years of development on the project and Joss Whedon proclaiming that he was exhausted after Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron due to having to make some compromises to accommodate the studios wishes into the movies.

The one director and property that has seemed to bypass this completely and lives so far as the most stand alone franchise among the Marvel movies is James Gunn with Guardians of the Galaxy.  What makes Guardians so different?  For starters since the action takes place away from earth and no previously shown characters appear in the GotG movies, the films do not have to continue any existing storylines.  Secondly, Marvel doesn’t currently own the movie rights to many of the heroes and villains the Guardians cross int he comics so they can’t even stick strictly to the comic if they wanted to.  Thirdly, as of now it doesn’t seem as though Guardians is setting up the Infinity War two part movie event the same way that the other stand alone films are.  I imagine there will be some of that in the second movie since Thanos was shown int he first film (he’s the main villain all the heroes will fight against in Infinity Wars), since the Nova Corp have one of the infinity gems, and because a couple of the characters presented in GotG play a role in the Infinity Wars story in the comics.  However, for now James Gunn still has creative freedom.

James Gunn reportedly completed the first draft of the script for the sequel.  Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star Lord) said that he literally cried when he read the draft.  Addressing this, Gunn stated the following in an interview with Periscope:

“It’s a very moving script. Listen, one of the main things with Guardians of the Galaxy is not to add a bunch of characters, not to make it bigger in that way but to go deeper with the characters. And yeah, there’s going to be the big things we’ve come to expect from those big battles and action sequences and things like that, big colorful locations and beautiful set pieces, and wonderful designs by visual effects artists and all of us, but what really matters to me is going deeper into the characters and getting to know them more emotionally. And I think we have a story that’s really, truly true for everyone and it just happens to be about aliens.”

The most surprising statement that came out of the interview is that there will be less characters in the sequel.  It seems that Hollywood believes that a sequel must try to squeeze in more action, more action, a larger budget, and just bigger in every way.  It’s refreshing to hear his philosophy on the subject of how to provide a better story.

“People ask for so many characters to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and they ask for so many actors who they want to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but we actually have less characters in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 than we have in Guardians of the Galaxy 1 because everything is just getting too sprawling and too crazy for me in these superhero comic book movies. And also in superhero comics in general. There’s just too many characters so you can’t concentrate on one and really get to know that character, and I really want to get to know the characters that we know better, and yeah, we will be introducing a new character…” 

He expanded on this by explaining that in the script writing process he even had to part with one character that he initially really wanted because the movie was feeling too crowded and didn’t allow for enough development.

“I did not get any help with the first draft of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 other than I wrote a scriptment which I’ve been working on for nine months, and I wrote that very, very in-depth scriptment which is a 70-page combination of a script and a treatment and it goes through every beat of the movie, everything, and I’ve been going through that and showing that to [Marvel Studios Boss] Kevin [Feige] and getting feedback and seeing what worked and what didn’t, what characters work, what didn’t. I mean, people will be disappointed – at some point I’ll release – but I had another big character in my original draft and it was just getting too busy. I took that character out. And it’s a character I like a lot and hope to work with in the future but I just didn’t have room for that person, that character.”

Screen Rant went on to sum up the rest of the interview in a few key points.  Firstly we know that the core five team members from the first movie will return along with Yondu (Michael Rooker), Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Nebula (Karen Gillan).  Beyond that, here’s a few additional items Gunn discussed in the interview about the sequel:

  • Whether or not Gunn will be involved in Guardians 3 depends on how he feels after the next one.
  • He likes the new Howard the Duck comic.
  • “We do not have Captain Marvel yet,” referring to casting.
  • As a wrap gift for finishing GOTG, Marvel gave Gunn the orb and the Infinity Stone that came in it which was originally red in color (it’s purple in the movie).
  • Doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in Infinity War.
  • For the comic readers, Star-Lord’s guns are not element guns.
  • Doesn’t know who’s playing Star-Lord’s dad yet.
  • If it were up to Gunn, Squirrel Girl would be in the MCU.
  • Scott Chambliss (Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness) is the production designer on GOTG 2.
  • All the songs for Awesome Mix Vol. 2 have been chosen and are built into the script.

What are your thoughts about what we’ve heard so far regarding Guardians of the Galaxy 2?  The sequel is set to be released May 5, 2017.

 

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